ENGLISH 352 - Literature in English, 1830-Present
Section: 001 What is Empire?
Term: FA 2019
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

‘Empire’ is a word that bespeaks power and has a long and complex history across many nations. It is often rationalized according to progress and capitalism, migration and modernity, and a ‘civilizing mission’ but it also raises issues of sovereignty, oppression, and injustice.

This course places empire in an historical context with a view to understanding the ways in which Modern Britain has defined itself and been defined by empire from the nineteenth century to the present. What was the British Empire? How did it expand, and why did it decline? To what extent did conceptions of the British nation and Britishness change as a result?

The course will be divided into two parts. The first part, on colonial expansion and its consequences, will explore the geopolitics of empire in a range of nineteenth-century writings from a slave narrative and a memoir to Victorian novels and including periodical and newspaper articles. The second part, on the end of empire and its aftermath, will consider the continuing significance of imperial ideology for British culture and identity with a specific focus on debates about race, immigration, and national belonging up to (and including) Brexit.

Works to be studied will likely include:

• Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince (1831).

• Mary Seacole, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857).

• Olive Schreiner, The Story of an African Farm (1883).

• Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1899).

• Rudyard Kipling, Kim (1901).

• Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children (1981).

• Zadie Smith, White Teeth (2000).

English Major Requirements: This course meets the Pre-1900 and the Identity and Difference requirements.

Course Requirements:

There will be a mixed portfolio of assessment comprising “blogs,” two short papers, and a final research project – plus attendance and participation.

Intended Audience:

Undergraduates interested in the history and culture of Britain from the nineteenth century to the present; English majors and non-majors welcome.

Class Format:

The class will follow a lecture and discussion format but will be designed to allow ample opportunity for debate with students generating questions and identifying topics of interest.

ENGLISH 352 - Literature in English, 1830-Present
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
002 (DIS)
F 11:00AM - 12:00PM
003 (DIS)
F 1:00PM - 2:00PM
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